no more bellyaching

Forget complaining. Find joy in every moment.


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That Crazy Wrap Thing

Last week I had the opportunity to try an It Works body wrap from the lovely Gina at Wrap and Slim You. I saw some posts about these wraps and was intrigued by the amazing before and after pictures of flatter, toned bellies, vanished double chins, and thinner, cellulite-free legs. So you can imagine HOW EXCITED I was to try them for myself!

The wrap arrived in a suprisingly small package–I guess for all that hope I was putting into the thing, I imagined it would be bigger. Gina gave me extensive instructions, and I couldn’t wait to try it.

My immediate observations: Measuring and taking before pictures was pretty discouraging. I eat healthy and work out pretty regularly, but it seems like since I hit 40 the weight just keeps creeping on.

Back to the wrap. It is very thin and kind of slippery as it’s covered with this miracle cream, but it was easy to apply. While the saran wrapping was kind of awkward, it worked out. It might be easier if you did this with a friend and wrapped each other. Although, having done it once, I’m confident I’ll be able to wrap myself just fine the next time.

I first noticed the scent, which was pleasant, kind of menthol-y. And when I applied the wrap, it felt warm and tingly–as, I imagined, it was melting the fat away.

The directions advise leaving the wrap on for 45 minutes the first time, I showered, applied the wrap, did my hair and makeup and then read for a little bit. While it says that you can do normal activities while wearing the wrap, but I felt mine was a bit precarious and opted to stay relatively still. Future wraps you can leave on up to 8 hours.

When I removed the wrap, there was a lot of cream still left that I massaged into my stomach and legs (as the directions suggest) and immediately noticed my stomach looked and felt flatter. When I remeasured, I had lost an inch and a half from my waist! Now, I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t really know what is considered the waist these days, but I measured the narrowest part of my midsection–the smallest part of the hourglass, if you will. I figured as long as I measured the same place both times, the results would be accurate.

While I wrapped my stomach, you can use it on any area you choose: legs, but, arms, even cut it into smaller strips and use for your neck/chin. I can’t wait to wrap my neck–you all ready know how I feel about this waddle.

I know, I know, you want to see before and after pictures; here’s the deal: I was so excited with the results of ONE wrap, I decided to try the full regimen (4 wraps). So, I will show after pictures then. Intrigued? Message me if you want to try too!wpid-PSE25.jpg

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Sum, Sum, Summertime

Although it still feels a lot like winter here in northeast Ohio, spring is right around the corner. And then summer. I know because three days a week there’s a Victoria’s Secret catalog in my mailbox with a bikini-clad model on the cover, reminding (taunting) me that bathing suit season is looming.

I know a lot of women. Regardless of their size, age, and body type, I don’t know one who says, “Woooo hooo, I cannot wait to put on a bathing suit!” We are critical of our bodies and rarely feel that they are quite where we want them to be. Even Victoria’s Secret models feel that way.

I wish I had some great advice; I really don’t. So let’s just hold hands, jump in, and fake it til we make it:

1. Buy a Bathing Suit that Works for You. It’s a lot like hair. Don’t get a haircut designed for straight fine hair, when yours is thick and wavy. Take a moment and read one of the 7 million articles about finding the right suit for your body type. You will feel more comfortable when your bathing suit accentuates your great features but helps camouflage those areas where you have less confidence.
2. Don’t Start off in a Rut. Regardless of the bathing suit, I will not look like a Victoria’s Secret model in it. I am 40 and 5’2”. So, I will not order one; I will buy a bathing suit off a rack. Then, while I may have a picture in my head of how I want to look in said suit, the picture is not of a woman who is 20 years younger and 9 inches taller than I am.
3. Compare Yourself Only to Yourself. You and your body are unique. Embrace it, treat it kindly, and don’t compare yourself to someone else. We’ve all thought or heard, “I wish my stomach were as flat as ____,” and so on. I sometimes compare myself to my younger self—before three kids and a roller coaster of life experiences. That’s not kind or realistic. And truth be told, even a person others may think looks “perfect” probably has plenty of insecurities as well.
4. Accessorize. If you’re feeling a little insecure about shedding the comfort of big sweaters and boots, get some great accessories. Oversized sunglasses and big sun hats are my favorites.. My husband and children laugh at me and joke that I am in disguise, but those accessories make me feel fabulous. For you, maybe it’s a sassy cover-up, or dangly earrings, or a fantastic tote, whatever it is: Find it and rock it!
5. Move. Whether you walk during your lunch hour, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do lunges while you are brushing your teeth or hit it hard at the gym every day, you feel better about yourself when you move. So move. Not because you are trying to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, but because it makes you feel like a better you.

Eating clean, drinking water, and making sure our insides are working at full capacity will also help us radiate a healthy glow. What is your favorite summer accessory?


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It’s All Good

It’s the last day of January. We were all gung-ho a month ago, but how are our resolutions today? I made a lot of goals—because resolutions seem so, I don’t know, resolute? Anyway, I am making progress and continuing to work toward them. Here are some things I’ve found helpful along my journey:

Get Up Earlier

It sucks. Agreed. I love sleeping as much as most newborns, but I really love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with getting up at 5:00 a.m. and reading, writing, and meditating before another busy day starts. Maybe you want to exercise. Maybe you just want a little me time. Whatever it is, a few extra minutes in the morning could be the answer. Every morning, I groan when the alarm goes off, but it is so worthwhile to feel calm, centered and ready when my kids get up.

Throw Away the Scale

For the past several weeks, I have eaten extravagantly healthfully. Salads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, I mean really good food. I did eat a few bites of my birthday cake, but honestly a FEW tiny little bites. For months I’ve spent at least an hour a day 4-5 days a week at the gym. I may fluctuate from that schedule occasionally, but I’ve been pretty consistent. I still weigh the same, but I have decided not to let that number or any other number dictate my feelings. Good-bye, Scale. God Speed.

Accept Yourself and Others

When we accept ourselves as unique and wonderful individuals, we can begin to accept others as they are as well. Too much of my life I spent worrying about how to make other people like me and feel accepted, when I really just needed to accept myself. We can learn so much from others and save ourselves some disappointment if we show people compassion and accept them for who they are rather than who we might want them to be.

Always Be Kind

An easy way to brighten your own mood and someone else’s is by saying spreading kindness. Never pass up an opportunity to say something nice: send an encouraging text, call a friend you know is having a hard time, pay for the person’s coffee behind you at Starbucks. Let your kids eat ice cream for dinner one night—it won’t hurt them. Send your partner an email expressing how grateful you are to share your life with him or her. Count your blessings. When you focus on the good, the bad miraculously disappears.

How are your resolutions or goals going? Please share some of your tips!


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NMB–The Scale

Last week, you may have read about my effort to eliminate grains. Evidently, I have commitment issues when it comes to buzzword labels such as vegan and gluten-free. So, I have not gone gluten-free, but I have stopped eating bread, pasta, crackers, and doughnuts. But I am not reading labels to make sure everything I eat is gluten-free.

I Can’t Eat Just One

I am an addict, and bread is my drug of choice. For instance, at Red Lobster, I cannot eat just one Cheddar Bay biscuit. If I don’t eat any, I will be fine. BUT if I eat one? I am probably going to eat the entire bowl. I am missing a very important chromosome that says, “One is enough.” That chromosome may also hold other important characteristics that I am missing, but we’ll talk about those another time.

Not Even One?

For the past few weeks, I haven’t eaten any bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, doughnuts. I took my Florax DS, drank a lot of water, herbal tea, and smoothies. Although I keep saying this isn’t about weight loss, in the interest of full disclosure, I did anticipate that I was going to lose weight. So imagine my surprise when I got on the scale this morning to find that I have not Lost. One. Pound.

My heart sank a little bit.

Not One, but Two

Conveniently, there were two chocolate éclairs on my counter. I have no idea where they came from, but two weeks ago, I would have said, “Screw this,” and devoured them, but there was this crazy voice in my head that said, “It’s not about losing weight; it’s about being healthy. Don’t you feel better?” Not sure where this logical voice came from, but I actually listened to her and didn’t eat the éclairs.

One, Two, Three…

One of my goals for 2013 was to accept my body. Gulp. After four decades of trying to change it, that’s a tough one. Another goal was not to say unkind things about anyone, and that includes myself. So regardless of what the scale says, I will keep eating healthy, taking Florax DS, and using Hebron USA’s line of all natural digestive and respiratory supplements.

Do you like éclairs? Do you want these?


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NMB–Sandwich Shmandwich

In my journey to physical, spiritual, and emotional health, I stopped eating meat and dairy a few years ago. I usually don’t say I’m a vegan because people sometimes associate excessive behaviors with that term. Plus, I occasionally eat fish and less occasionally cheese or sour cream. For me, deprivation is destructive, so if I’m really craving something I have it.

Fabulous at Forty

Initially, this food choice was a humanitarian effort and had nothing to do with losing weight. It still really doesn’t. However, as my 40th birthday crept closer, extra pounds crept on, partly because I swapped meat and dairy for bread. One of my favorite pastimes, along with eating carbs, is reading diet books. One I read suggested a lifestyle change that began by eliminating grains and then gradually adding back only whole grains. I’d credit the book, but I often read books 10 or so at a time, so I’m not sure which one it was.

Gluten-Free is Great

Add this book to the buzz I’d been hearing about the health benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle, celiac disease and more, I experimented with it. Surprisingly, I found that by eliminating gluten, I had more energy, lost weight, and improved digestive health. Of course, I did this in combination with taking gluten-free Florax DS.

You Don’t Need a Sandwich

So you’re probably thinking it seems like a no-brainer, right? If you feel so good without gluten, why on earth would you eat it? I had this exact conversation with my husband this morning. I can’t come up with any sound reasons other than sometimes I just want pasta. Or a sandwich. On regular bread. That didn’t cost $6. Much like vegan cheese substitutes, I just don’t find gluten-free bread very satisfying.

Here We Go

After some additional research, and weighing my desire for a sandwich against all the health benefits I all ready know I’ll experience, I decided this morning to eliminate grains completely. Again. So, if you have advice, recipes, and success stories, please share!


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NMB About the Past and the Future

My dad used to deliver wisdom through clichés, “There are two days you should never worry about: yesterday and tomorrow.” My mom, a top-notch worrier used to respond with eye-rolling and her own cliché, “There’s no fool like an old fool.” I try to maintain some balance among my chromosomes but usually fall more on the worrying side.

If you’re reading this, then you made it through Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and into the most wonderful time of the year. Course, I guess that depends on who you ask. I saw a card that said, “December 25: It’s amazing how one little day can undo a whole month of therapy.” For many people this humor rings uncomfortably true.

Unfortunately it seems that during the holidays our past and future worries manage to get the best of us. Additionally, it seems when we are with our families, our childhood self comes to the forefront. Then, despite the great person we may have become, our families tend to remember and remind us who we were.

Anticipating the worst, we often head into the holiday season with our guard way up perhaps inhibiting ourselves from enjoying time with family and friends. Plus, once you’ve started fretting about it, it’s often a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re expecting someone to insult you, you might put a negative spin on innocent comments: “You look great this year, Mary!” What does that mean? Did I look bad last year? Frowning face.

Not discounting our family’s real or imagined criticism, too often, we are our own worst critics. And with New Year’s coming, we have to face the ten pounds we didn’t lose or the five additional pounds we gained since Thanksgiving or the gym membership that ended up being a waste of money that we could have used for Christmas this year. Commence downward spiral.

This year alone, I’ve made enough mistakes that learning the right lessons from all of them could qualify me for Mensa. Discouragingly enough, I’m still plugging along and will be remaking some of the same New Year’s resolutions this year that I made last year, and the year before and maybe the year before that. Hey, we’re not worrying about yesterday so I’m certainly not dredging up two years ago!

The point of all this: We can’t change the past, but we can change the choices we make today. We don’t know what the future holds, but as many say, “We know who holds the future.” So plan and save and work toward the future; but remember that no amount of worry, fret, and beating yourself up will change it. That will only suck the joy from today. Ugh, I inherited the cliché chromosome. What are you NOT going to fret about today?


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NMB about Fitness

Have you heard of the “freshman fifteen?” Who knew you could experience that simply by visiting your child at college? I did at my daughter’s Friends and Family Weekend. It was a fabulous event with lots of fun activities and So. Much. Food. By the time we left, my pants were uncomfortably tight, and I was swallowing my own samples of Kios DS and beating myself up the complete lack of self-control.

On the drive home, it hit me: I am slipping into holiday mode. You know, that time period between Halloween and New Year’s when you write off overeating, overdrinking, and not exercising with the excuse: “I’ll get back to [start] a healthy routine after the holidays.” Or, in my case this weekend, “I’ll get back to my routine when we get home.”

Unfortunately, it’s really easy to find an excuse or a justification for eating too much, drinking too much, and not working out. But eating unhealthily and letting physical activity lapse for even a short period of time makes it that much harder to get back into a routine leaving us in the same place, making the same New Year’s resolution we did last year.

Maybe this doesn’t apply to you at all. If not, please don’t let my rambling detain you from finishing your kale smoothie and getting to the gym. For those of you who are still here, let’s look at ways to get past some of the typical excuses.

Excuse #1: I will eat better when the holidays are over

This year, I am striving simultaneously not to deprive myself and not to overindulge. Since I don’t eat meat, I live for side dishes. This year, I am going to try to sample everything rather than eating big portions. We’ve heard that taking small bites, eating slowly, and practicing mindful eating are all techniques that can help you lose weight and take control of your eating. So instead of filling your plates, try to enjoy a few bites of pumpkin pie and your other favorite holiday fare. Chances are you will feel satisfied and avoid the guilt, bellyaches, and caloric ramifications large portions bring.

Excuse #2: I will go to the gym tomorrow

Few of us leave the gym saying, “Boy, I really wish I had stayed in bed instead of working out today.” No, it’s usually the opposite. Remind yourself how good finishing a workout feels every time you don’t want to start one. Dragging yourself out of bed to go to the gym or for a walk or run or to yoga class is worth the rush of endorphins that will still have you smiling hours later.

Excuse #3: I will not drink soda tomorrow

There are no health benefits of soda. Zero. Think of it like smoking. You can’t really make a case for having a cigarette because it holds not one benefit. The same is true of your favorite soda—diet included. It’s bad for your weight, your teeth, your bones, and some studies have shown links between soda and asthma. So no matter how much you love soda, you probably love your life more. Trade it for water.

Excuse #4: I don’t have the time or money

Start small; do something; move. You don’t need a gym membership to stay fit. Walking is not only one of the best forms of exercise, but it is also free. Walk outside, walk in the mall, walk to work, just walk. For me, the gym membership holds me accountable. Since I am extremely frugal, paying for something I don’t use is unacceptable. As for time, I challenge you: Add up the time you spend watching tv and using social media. Ouch. Yep, we’ve got time.

These are a few of my favorite excuse busters, but there are hundreds of other ways to stay accountable for your health. What are your favorite tips?